Friday, February 18, 2022

First-hand reports

More testimony from those who have actually spent time at the protest site:

NewstalkZB Political Editor Barry Soper: 

The trouble is the politicians have painted them as illegal, dangerous radicals which, having talked to many of them which the politicians haven't, isn't the case for the vast majority of them. 

Lawyer and ex ACT MP Stephen Franks

I’ve been radicalised into hoping the protesters win (conspicuously by the end of mandates outside high transmission risk roles). That is by simple disgust at the bizarre RNZ and other MSM state propaganda vilifying the protesters. In my many hours there, I’ve seen nothing to support the calumny aimed at the protesters. Sure, its attracted some dingbats and potentially menacing individuals. But in my view a lower proportion than in most protests.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Protest gathering force

A high achieving sportsman, knighted no less, trumps politicians in his ability to distil and state his position:

In a post made on Facebook, Coutts confirmed his plans to join the occupiers, noting he was not against vaccination – being vaccinated himself - but he was against forcing people to get them.

"I'm heading to Wellington next week to join the protest. It's the first time I've ever felt compelled to join a protest," Coutts wrote.

"I'm not anti-vaccine (I'm vaccinated) but I'm definitely against forced vaccinations.

"I'm also strongly opposed to the ever-increasing erosion of our human rights and the growing limitations on our freedom of choice. I believe in having the freedom to be able to question so-called "expert" opinion.

"I'm against discrimination and the 'them and us' society that is being promoted by our current political leaders. I'm against creating different rights, laws and privileges based on race."

Tone-deaf government

While thousands of people, Maori in particular, are protesting at parliament over jobs and businesses lost due to the mandates, Ministers Carmel Sepuloni and Willie Jackson issue a press release titled:

Government Acts To Support More Māori Into Mahi

It's your typical 'all hui no do-ey' political statement outlining a nebulous 11-point action-plan to get more Maori into jobs. Old hands among us have seen it dozens of times before.

Did the Ministers see this ad in yesterday's DomPost?

Or the signs being carried by protestors?

Best employment policy right now? 

End the mandates.

Update: It gets worse. According to NewstalkZB's Barry Soper, the Prime Minister left the jobless protestors behind in Wellington and went to Rotorua to launch this employment scheme! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Protest Day 8: Answer me this

Has there ever before been a protest to parliament that was stonewalled by every party?

What the heck is going on?

Where is the Maori Party when so many of the protestors are their whanau?

Where is the ACT Party when so many of the protestors are pleading for our legislated freedoms?

Where are the Greens, the very party of protest?

Where is Labour with a list ranking full of so-called activists?

Any ideas?

Indistinguishable parties

From the parliamentary occupation site this morning, a row of caricatures. I guess to the protestors the parties are indistinguishable. Their response is uniform. 'We want you to go away.' By my first-hand observation and conversations with protestors, be assured. They will not.

Speakers remind protestors to be clean, peaceful, tidy, and sober. Above all, to be individuals with their own opinions and thoughts but be unified on why they are there. To end the mandates. Be as one on that message. 

Every 15 minutes a trespass notice from Trevor Mallard is broadcast and raucous drumming, whistling and singing drowns it out. Police are wandering around the crowd and engaging amiably. They are offered food and tattoos are compared. Both sides seem to be bending over backwards to put Thursday's violence behind them. It is quite a remarkable turnaround.

Update: On NewstalkZB this morning Minster Megan Woods and Labour MP Mark Mitchell were both singing the same song, bad-mouthing the protestors at length. Woods stated emphatically, "This is a violent protest". Thanks to Rick for this video, a police officer telling what he has seen in his patrols:

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Protest perspective

To be amongst the protestors is both calming and exhilarating. There's a strong sense of trust in one another which has been long denied by lockdown separations, physical distancing and masking. People are working together to overcome adversities thrown at them by nature or the state. They know here, they can talk freely. For the first time in ages they actually feel safe in a physical community beyond the internet. 

But MPs - all of them - want you believe the protestors are 'unsafe.' That the city streets are being made unsafe by their presence. Now the protest site is 'unhygienic' and 'contamination' lurks. Faeces has been spotted (so have many well-cared for dogs attached to the protestors.)

Those who long ago lost trust in government can recognise alarmist media reporting and political propaganda when they see it.  

I'd choose to sit with these people any day over a parliamentary select committee.

Tent city holding

Media reports are insufficient. Since Friday the protest has swollen enormously. I took a walk around all the streets near parliament this morning. The land surrounding the old government buildings is now covered in vehicles. The thoroughfare between the High Court and Wellington University is covered. Every conceivable space is taken. People have parked in triangles and put up awnings between their utes. Up Molesworth street roadside vehicles now extend as far as Pipitea Street. People are camping in every building vestibule including the High Court by creatively tethering to pillars and posts.

In Parliament grounds around a tenth of tent city has succumbed to the gale force gusts but most are standing. Mallard's music is blasting out but other audio speakers are competing with the likes of Chuck Berry. People are dancing despite abysmal conditions. The temperature is 12 degrees but the wind chill factor makes it much colder. I was exhaling vapour. On the lawns there are carpets and rubber tiles on top of hay to make pathways but veer off them and you could be ankle deep. The first aid tent is busy but not overwhelmed.

There is not one sign that people are drifting away or losing energy. If need be, people can take a break and retreat temporarily to vehicles, motor homes, converted horsetrailers - whatever - and dry off and get warm again. There is food and there are toilets.

Mallard has shown he is completely divorced from reality. Does he think every protestor has a lovely warm remote home like his beckoning? Many have their homes parked at parliament - including cars. There are the marginalised, the middleclass and the moderately wealthy in attendance judging by their chariots. And what was he thinking turning on the sprinklers when this heavy sustained rain was forecast anyway? 'Kindness' personified not. All his and police actions have done is strengthen the resolve of the occupiers and increased sympathy from the wider public.

At only 9:30 am there was plenty of activity to behold. And the mood is still as it was two days ago. Everybody is smiling, greeting each other and engendering a sense of goodwill. A young lady collecting rubbish also enjoying the humanity recalled to me that 'she' (gesturing toward parliament) told us not to talk to our neighbours. That's not New Zealand, she said to me.